When Nintendo announced that they won’t reveal the NX during this year’s E3, one thing was clear – they had no intention of even attempting to one-up either Microsoft or Sony. And I understand why because there’s no point of “winning” this year’s E3. The Nintendo 3DS has left Sony’s Playstation Vita in the dust (did Sony even mention anything Vita related this year?) while their Wii U has been so far behind the X-Box One and the Playstation 4 that they’ve already decided to move on to the NX.
And let’s be real here – if games like Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros., Super Mario Maker, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Star Fox Zero didn’t convince you to buy a Wii U, then a new Legend of Zelda game probably won’t either. And now that there’s the shadow of the NX, a gaming console that’s been rumored to be a hybrid home/portable device, there’s probably only a few people who would consider buying a Wii U or a 3DS. So this year, Nintendo is all about keeping their existing fans satisfied as they prepare for the future launch of the NX.
Rather than do a traditional press conference, Nintendo has been doing “Digital Events” of different styles and they did the same approach this year with different presentations spread across two days. This time around, Nintendo followed their Treehouse Live format to show gameplay footage and give the game developers behind the featured titles some face time. Day One was focused on two of Nintendo’s biggest properties, starting with Pokemon Sun and Moon.
The new Pokemon games will feature new Pokemon (including two new Legendary Pokemon) and a few enhancements on the Pokemon X/Y game engine. It’s not as big of a leap as X/Y was over Pokemon Black/White, but that’s understandable because Sun/Moon was developed for the same system, but the enhancements are significant enough to entice both those playing the current Pokemon games and those who played Pokemon games in the past to go back to the franchise.
A huge chunk of Day One went to what is arguably Nintendo’s biggest 2017 release, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And when I say huge chunk, Nintendo spent the rest of Day One showing off gameplay footage of this for the very first time.
Originally announced in 2013, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was supposed to come out in 2015 but its release was pushed back to 2016 and again to 2017 as it’s developers wanted to release the game as complete as possible. I didn’t get to watch all of the gameplay sessions but from what I was able to watch, the wait was worth it.
While these weren’t shown in Nintendo’s main presentations, there were several trailers for new indie games released on the same day. Two Wii U games in Jotun: Valhalla Edition and Axiom Verge, Severed on both the Wii U and the 3DS, and another New Nintendo 3DS exclusive in Runbow Pocket.
Nintendo’s Day Two presentations had more variety to it with a mix of first- and third-party titles revealed, the most notable of which is Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is an app/game planned for both iOS and Android mobile devices that uses augmented reality to simulate the experience of being a Pokemon Trainer – that means you’ll be able to catch, collect, train, and trade Pokemon. Oh yeah, Pokemon Go won’t be a Pokemon game without battles, so of course the app will allow you to pit your Pokemon against others in battle.
There’s also an accessory that works with the app. Called Pokemon Go Plus, it’s supposed to vibrate and have a flashing light to indicate whenever there’s a Pokemon in the vicinity. In case you’re busy doing something important, you can use the Pokemon Go Plus accessory to catch Pokemon without needing to take out your mobile device.
The other games showcased during Day Two, starting with the first party titles, are as follows: Ever Oasis, an RPG basd on a new IP from Grezzo (the developers behind the 3DS remakes of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask); another Mario Party game; another Paper Mario game; and Rhythm Heaven Megamix – one of the surprise titles revealed in the previous Nintendo Direct.
The games coming from third party developers are: the Dragon Quest VII remake from Square Enix; Yokai Watch 2 from Level-5; Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE from Atlus (a Shin Megami Tensei-Fire Emblem crossover); and finally Monster Hunter Generations from Capcom.
If we consider the number of games shown, Nintendo did okay this year. There is something to look forward to until 2017’s E3. I guess the problem this year is that there weren’t any big surprises – the biggest games revealed like Pokemon Go, Monster Hunter Generations, and even The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were already known to us so there’s no “WOW!” factor this time around.
As a Nintendo fan, I’m satisfied – for now. And I think that was Nintendo’s objective for E3 2016, to bide time until they’re ready to unleash the NX. Of everything that was shown, I don’t think Nintendo’s going to win over new fans (except for Pokemon Go which is sure to grab a big enough audience since it’s a free-to-play app). For those who already own a Nintendo Wii U or a 3DS, we’ve got some neat looking games on our way. But we already knew that.
So yeah – Nintendo definitely did not “win” this year’s E3. They weren’t even trying.
How would you assess Nintendo’s E3 showing this year? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment or two below!